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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Influence Mental Illness has on False Confessions

  • Author(s): Richardson, Dylan Matthew
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

False confessions are very important to understand in order to prevent them from occurring and to seek true justice. A false confession is defined by the admission of guilt for a crime where the confessor is innocent. This literature review draws upon previous studies on false confessions in order to come to a conclusion on how mental illness affects the possibility of falsely confessing to a crime. This paper critically analyzes ten different studies that all relate to either mental illness, false confessions, or both. There have been many studies done on how young age and intense interrogations impact false confessions, however, this literature review aims to gather evidence that focuses on mental illness being a major influencer on false confessions. Another point this literature review focuses on is the fact that people are unwilling to help those who have falsely confessed to a crime reintegrate back into society. Majority of the methodology examined are self-report methods conducted by various different universities. After analyzing each study in depth, this literature review concludes that a correlation between mental illness and false confession is present, however, researcher methodologies must be altered in order to come to a more concrete conclusion.

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